Chaotic Good—the complement to Neutral Evil ))), a short novel published in 2020 about seeing Sunn O))) in Philadelphia on March 18, 2017—presents another polythematic core sample, this time about taking the train to NYC to see a band—as far removed from Sunn O))) as possible—at “the world’s most famous arena” on December 28, 2019 after walking too far in Brooklyn with an old troubled friend, intermittently concerned about an imminent storm of excrement, all capped by the nightly procession of nearly invisible satellites. It’s an associative cascade about a foundational synesthesiac experience after an unforeseen change of plans, a cylindrical hotel deserving demolition, the renovated men’s bathroom in New York Penn Station, untangling headphone cords, cleaning house before moving out, logging the past versus planning the future, ADHD, autism, Alzheimer’s, preferring the documentary to the drama, waiting too long in car for spouse to return from hellacious megastore, wielding plunger on dented bumper, walking with young daughter around where you grew up, the composed part followed by the improvised part, intentionally losing now to win later, remembering once in a while that the trick is to surrender to the flow.
“Mostly just found myself highlighting and typing ha or lol or the little plus sign which of course means I dig this. Affable narration. Highly readable. Entertaining. Funny. Bejeweled with alluring idiosyncrasies. Unspools with characteristic effortlessness. I felt at home.”
—Matthew Vollmer, author of All of Us Together in the End
“Just as Chaotic Good is ’ostensibly fiction,’ it is also ’ostensibly about a man’s solo journey into the sensuous depths of a communal music-listening experience.’ Of course it is much more. It is, scene by scene and paragraph by paragraph, a tree of singing rings—spooling, puddling, and oscillating in refracting flashes of innocence and experience, calmly paid out like vibrant candied rainbow rope, like the sliding scale of a human brain shot through and butterflied by blasts of radio wave on a magnetic field—each frame a static opportunity for digressive associative rumination—often, age-old tensions to ponder, reality as it is vs. as it was or could be: the thin man inside the fat man; the young inside the old; the bachelor inside the family unit; the mind within the mind; and, to cut things off somewhere, the individual within the concert within the city within the country.”
—Eric Bies, Goodreads